Investors Need to Understand Their Risk

Published February 7th, 2017 by Unknown

Investors Need to Understand Their Risk 

Understanding your risk tolerance is complex, and the standard questionnaire provided by financial planners may not capture an accurate picture.  One reason is they sometimes combine different aspects of the risk profile that  should be assessed separately.  Words such as “capacity” and “tolerance” are often used interchangeably.  In fact,  they are quite different. 

Risk capacity is a measure of your financial ability to sustain risk.  In a practical financial planning context, risk capacity is measured in terms of an individual’s asset base, withdrawal, liquidity needs, and time horizon.  For example, if you need to fund retirement withdrawals of $20,000 a year from an asset base of $1 million starting 10 years from now, you would have a very high capacity for risk.  You will still have ample means to sustain your  retirement goals even if you experience several years of portfolio underperformance. 

However, if you need to fund retirement withdrawals immediately at $40,000 a year from an asset base of $500,000, you have a much smaller capacity for risk.  Your plan will fail with anything less than strong portfolio  returns from the very start.  Therefore, you would have very little capacity to take risks. 

Risk capacity is all about the financial aspects of your ability to sustain a market decline without suffering an unacceptable loss of lifestyle or quality of life now or in the future.  While risk capacity is about your financial  ability to sustain underperformance in pursuit of higher returns, risk tolerance measures your willingness to enter  such a tradeoff in the first place. 

Risk tolerance measures your ability to handle risk emotionally.  It evaluates your willingness to take on the risk of receiving lower returns in exchange for the possibility of earning higher ones.  This pure aspect of an individual’s  risk tolerance has nothing to do with risk capacity.  

Advisors, therefore, must be cautious about not leading their clients to particular decisions by imprinting their own risk tolerance onto the client, through how they ask questions, frame the discussion, or communicate nonverbally. 

The combination of your financial risk capacity and emotional risk tolerance creates the foundation on which an overall portfolio can be created to determine appropriate investment solutions.  Do you fully understand what  risk means to you? 

At JMS Capital Group Wealth Services, we have implemented the use of a risk evaluation and management tool called Riskalyze.  It’s a quantitative way to pinpoint how much risk you want, how much risk you currently have in  your portfolio, and how much risk you need to take to reach your goals.  Visit our website or click here to get  started and find out your Risk Number today! 

- JMS Team

This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument or investment strategy. Certain material in this work is proprietary to and copyrighted by Peak Advisor Alliance and is used by JMS Capital Group Wealth Services LLC with permission. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting and legal or tax advice. Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation.

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